Trinity Librarian Diane Graves personifies the modern librarian who promotes information access and preaches ‘No illegal downloads!’
By Susie P. Gonzalez
June 2011 - At the tender age of 7, Trinity University librarian Diane Graves already was affixing call numbers to the spines of books. The daughter of a librarian who encouraged such activity, Graves recalls a friend cautioning her against pursuing a library science degree in graduate school. Today, Graves says she has "never regretted being a librarian," although the work in academic circles has evolved from amassing collections to helping students gain access to traditional and electronic resources that transform their learning.
At Trinity, Graves manages a Coates Library staff of 30, teaches a First-Year Seminar on the life and times of music icon Bob Dylan, promotes the concept of Open Access for scholarly articles, chairs the Faculty Senate, and serves as the University's copyright officer.
She says it is not unusual for the head librarian to monitor a school's copyright practices, but doing so puts her in the unenviable position of persuading students who downloaded music and movies with reckless abandon at home to stop such illegal transfers once they arrive on campus. At risk are federal funds Trinity receives for faculty research and for student financial aid. Graves dispatches the "no illegal downloads" warning at New Student Orientation and even speaks with parents, urging students instead to visit such sites as iTunes or Amazon.com for their entertainment media. "It's hard because colleges have a high-speed bandwidth that professors use to receive valued research materials," she says, adding, "I once caught a kid downloading 'Titanic.' We have it here on DVD, for goodness sake. Just check it out."
In contrast to her job of protecting the University's computerized data transferal, Graves has spent the last few years opening up online access to scholarly articles. As chair of the Faculty Senate, she shepherded the passage of a resolution in support of Open Access, a measure that makes scholarly research more easily accessible to the broader academic community. The faculty vote became a brag point for Graves since Trinity was the first small liberal arts college to support the Open Access movement through a faculty-supported mandate. Under Open Access, faculty members can submit scholarly articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals without having to pay fees to the same journals to share their material with students and others. Graves says Open Access globalizes information and eliminates an atmosphere of elitism in which only wealthy colleges can obtain vital research journals.
In related areas, Graves also has been active in the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition, or SPARC, serving on its steering committee. She is a past director of a management program run by EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association that seeks to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. In 2005, she joined the faculty of the EDUCAUSE Institute and participated in two weeklong seminars annually--for managers learning or tweaking administrative skills, sharing her background as a librarian with information technology leaders.
At Trinity, her teaching is focused on two First Year Seminars, one on the musician Dylan and a second one titled "Pursuing Love," both of which she co-teaches with Michael Fischer, vice president for Faculty and Student Affairs. She jokes that she and Fischer were "talked into it by our spouses" but says the course - which they will lead again in the fall of 2011 - has relevance in the student learning process. "Using the vehicle of 'pursuing love,' we look at how the world views love. We say we love our spouses. I 'love' biology! I 'love it when...' And this age group is in the market for romance," she says. "At the end of the course, they will be changed in some way. Isn't that why we are in college?"
On the horizon for Graves is a new faculty resource, the Teaching and Learning Collaborative, which will be housed at the Coates Library and is an outgrowth of Trinity's information literacy initiative. The facility is an attempt to meet faculty requests for a place to think about incorporating technology into their curricula. "It will be a place for them to have conversations-not on what I'm teaching but how I'm teaching," she says.
"Faculty Open Access Policies: Public Missions, Public Research, Public Good." Invited presenter, along with OA advocates from Harvard, University of Kansas, MIT. AAUP Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., June 11, 2010.
"Assessment and Information Literacy." Invited panelist; part of full-day workshop on Assessing Instructional Technology at NITLE Camp. DePauw University, June 22, 2010.
"Open Access and Liberal Arts Colleges." Invited co-instructor with Claire Strom, Rollins College. Half-day workshop, NITLE Camp. DePauw University, June 23, 2010.
Teaches First-Year Seminar (along with Vice President Michael Fischer) "Forever Young: The Life & Times of Bob Dylan" and "Pursuing Love"
Chair, Faculty Senate
Annually participates in Team Trinity (to move first-year students into residence halls)
© 2011 Trinity University